Note: There are major spoilers ahead. This article assumes some familiarity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and the first episode of WandaVision, do that first and then come back.
One of the weirdest things about the post-geek world we find ourselves living in is the way in which what was once the secret, shameful province of a select and outcast few has not only been embraced by mainstream pop culture, but has become, for the moment at least, a vital part of its foundation. Thanks to the movies, you find people who’ve never read a comic book in their lives taking ownership of the likes of Captain America and Iron Man, and discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the cold light of day, as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do (which now, I guess, it is…but oh, my sweet summer children, ’twas not always so). This phenomena is a little jarring for someone like me, who’s been living intimately with the idea of mutants, androids, super-soldiers, thunder gods, and crime-fighting teen-agers in spider costumes for pretty much the entirety of their life. I’m not sure how many Marvel Comics I’m harboring / hoarding in my collection, but it’s somewhere well north of sanity…all of which is to say that I’m walking in the door of any MCU movie or television show pre-burdened with decades of history and unreasonably militant notions too powerful for mortal brains to contain.